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Marijuana and Others

Page history last edited by Naug 14 years, 8 months ago

 Marijuana is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States. It is a dry, shredded green and brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves derived from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. The main active chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol; THC for short.


How is Marijuana Abused?

Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette (joint) or in a pipe. It is also smoked in blunts, which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana. Since the blunt retains the tobacco leaf used to wrap the cigar, this mode of delivery combines marijuana's active ingredients with nicotine and other harmful chemicals. Marijuana can also be mixed in food or brewed as a tea. As a more concentrated, resinous form it is called hashish, and as a sticky black liquid, hash oil.* Marijuana smoke has a pungent and distinctive, usually sweet-and-sour odor. 


How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain?

Scientists have learned a great deal about how THC acts in the brain to produce its many effects. When someone smokes marijuana, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the brain and other organs throughout the body.


THC acts upon specific sites in the brain, called cannabinoid receptors, kicking off a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the “high” that users experience when they smoke marijuana. Some brain areas have many cannabinoid receptors; others have few or none. The highest density of cannabinoid receptors are found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thoughts, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement.1


Not surprisingly, marijuana intoxication can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty in thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory. Research has shown that marijuana’s adverse impact on learning and memory can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off.2 As a result, someone who smokes marijuana every day may be functioning at a suboptimal intellectual level all of the time.


Research on the long-term effects of marijuana abuse indicates some changes in the brain similar to those seen after long-term abuse of other major drugs. For example, cannabinoid withdrawal in chronically exposed animals leads to an increase in the activation of the stress-response system3 and changes in the activity of nerve cells containing dopamine.4 Dopamine neurons are involved in the regulation of motivation and reward, and are directly or indirectly affected by all drugs of abuse.


Addictive Potential

Long-term marijuana abuse can lead to addiction; that is, compulsive drug seeking and abuse despite its known harmful effects upon social functioning in the context of family, school, work, and recreational activities. Long-term marijuana abusers trying to quit report irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving, all of which make it difficult to quit. These withdrawal symptoms begin within about 1 day following abstinence, peak at 2–3 days, and subside within 1 or 2 weeks following drug cessation.5


Marijuana and Mental Health

A number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and schizophrenia. Some of these studies have shown age at first use to be a factor, where early use is a marker of vulnerability to later problems. However, at this time, it not clear whether marijuana use causes mental problems, exacerbates them, or is used in attempt to self-medicate symptoms already in existence. Chronic marijuana use, especially in a very young person, may also be a marker of risk for mental illnesses, including addiction, stemming from genetic or environmental vulnerabilities, such as early exposure to stress or violence. At the present time, the strongest evidence links marijuana use and schizophrenia and/or related disorders.6 High doses of marijuana can produce an acute psychotic reaction; in addition, use of the drug may trigger the onset or relapse of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals.



What Other Adverse Effect Does Marijuana Have on Health?


Effects on the Heart

Marijuana increases heart rate by 20–100 percent shortly after smoking; this effect can last up to 3 hours. In one study, it was estimated that marijuana users have a 4.8-fold increase in the risk of heart attack in the first hour after smoking the drug.7 This may be due to the increased heart rate as well as effects of marijuana on heart rhythms, causing palpitations and arrhythmias. This risk may be greater in aging populations or those with cardiac vulnerabilities.


Effects on the Lungs

Numerous studies have shown marijuana smoke to contain carcinogens and to be an irritant to the lungs. In fact, marijuana smoke contains 50–70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke. Marijuana users usually inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers do, which further increase the lungs’ exposure to carcinogenic smoke. Marijuana smokers show dysregulated growth of epithelial cells in their lung tissue, which could lead to cancer;8 however, a recent case-controlled study found no positive associations between marijuana use and lung, upper respiratory, or upper digestive tract cancers.9 Thus, the link between marijuana smoking and these cancers remains unsubstantiated at this time.


Nonetheless, marijuana smokers can have many of the same respiratory problems as tobacco smokers, such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illness, and a heightened risk of lung infections. A study of 450 individuals found that people who smoke marijuana frequently but do not smoke tobacco have more health problems and miss more days of work than nonsmokers.10 Many of the extra sick days among the marijuana smokers in the study were for respiratory illnesses.  


Considering the negative effects of THC, should it be legalized?  Why or why not...please provide a detailed response.  Should any illegal drug be legalized?  Please remember to keep all information and comments appropriate.  Two Posts for Credit.


Comments (Show all 96)

wiki79 said

at 9:04 pm on Oct 22, 2009

THC should not be legalized because the health risks and addiction risks are too great to be allowed. I dont think any illegal drug ahould be legalized because it just allows the public easier access to harmful drugs.

wiki33 said

at 9:06 pm on Oct 22, 2009

Marijuana should not be made legal. It is not just the abuser who is affected, but other innocent people as well. In the above article, it was stated that marijuana intoxication distorts perception, impairs coordination, and makes it difficult for individuals under the influence to think clearly and problem solve. This is a huge problem because if these people then venture into society from the comforts of their own home, they can make some really stupid and careless mistakes. Take for instead if someone who was just smoking marijuana gets into a car. Further, then that person is not "all there." Their mind isn't on the road and their reaction time is almost cut in half.This puts many lives at risk. I do believe however that under certain circumstances, marijuana should be given to someone who is in need of it, for medical purposes. Their dosage would be monitored and every visit documented. Because if someone keeps coming in, with one exuse after another, then doctors would start to question them.

wiki88 said

at 9:18 pm on Oct 22, 2009

I believe that marijuana should not be legal. Though people still use it illegally, that does not mean we should succumb to the few illegal members of society and make it legal. THC clearly has negative effects, though people do not consider it as harmful as other drugs such as heroine. A drug is still a drug. Responding to those who say that marijuana should be legal since smoking and alcohol are do not have an argument. Though those drugs are legal, marijuana is not the same thing. If we make marijuana legal, teens and other people who are easily influenced will think that it is okay since it is allowed by the government, but that is not the case. The only exception should be in extreme cases for medical purposes. Prescriptions for marijuana would not work as some people mentioned because people will take advantage of them. I do not believe that any illegal drug should become legalized. They are obviously illegal right now for a reason, and unless any of these drugs are discovered to cure cancer, which it won't, they should remain illegal.

wiki56 said

at 9:26 pm on Oct 22, 2009

I completely agree with wiki33. The physical and mental statuses that are affected would indeed cause a huge problem. If everyone was under the influence in society and making bad choices, it would lead to possibly more deaths or even cause a huge disturbance in the economic market . Furthermore, the idea of driving while high could cause a lot of deaths that could have been prevented from happening.

wiki33 said

at 9:31 pm on Oct 22, 2009

I do not believe that illegal drugs should be legalized. The more and more drugs we legalize, then when all is said and done, all drugs will then be legal and society would have a big problem on their hands. If people were to have unlimited access to any type of drug then they will abuse it. It is like eating a bag of chips, once you start munching, you can't stop and you keep reaching into the bag to get another chip because no one is stoping you. Drugs will now be the chips. Like wiki88 stated, they are obviously illegal right now for a reason. And once they are legal, there is no turning back, because if the government then goes back and changes their mind, they will be in for a whole lot of trouble.

wiki76 said

at 9:57 pm on Oct 22, 2009

Wiki 88 is right, just because people use marijuana illegally doesn’t mean we should help them out and make it legal. It also means that the people who are prescribed marijuana and use it legally should not be able to use it. Who are we to say that the people who are legally using marijuana can no longer use it? Obviously they, a long with their doctor, have discussed the negative effects and that positive out weigh the negative.

wiki75 said

at 10:35 pm on Oct 22, 2009

I don't think that marijuana should be legalized. If it were to ever be legal, people definitely take advantage of it. I know of people who smoke and they are very secretive about it, which i guess gives them some kind of boundry. If it was legal though, i feel like they would have no limits and just be stupid about it. When it comes to those who are suffering, it's hard to say yes or no but i don't see why they can't just use painkillers or other forms of medication

wiki78 said

at 5:19 am on Oct 23, 2009

Marijuana should NOT be legalized. Its really not good for you, putting toxic chemicals such as THC into your body destroys it. Athletes for expample should not be smoking because it only harms them and puts the team down. The fact that there are addictive potentials and heart risks just read no to marijuana all over it. The only reason why it should be legal is for medical purposes like cancer fighters.

wiki41 said

at 9:14 am on Oct 23, 2009

No I do not think that THC should be legalized in the United States. It would be morally unethical to put people at risk for illness and other dangers such as car crashes by making it readily available. Marijuana intoxication distorts perception, impairs coordination, and makes it hard for people under the influence to think clearly. These effects make it extremly risky and dangerous for others surrounding someone under the influence of marijuana.

wiki88 said

at 9:15 am on Oct 23, 2009

It doesn't matter if drugs are legal or not because people are going to use them no matter what. Since it is a general consensus that drugs are not good for you, they should stay illegal. If someone would like to do drugs, then it is up to them to break the law and find their own way of getting them. I agree with wiki14 in that there is no good being done when legalizing drugs.

wiki32 said

at 9:24 am on Oct 23, 2009

I think medical marijuana should be legalized because if it would be beneficial for the patient, we should take advantage of it. As for whether or not it should be legalized for the public, i don't feel strongly about either sides. While marijuana isn't good for you, neither are cigarettes, which are legal. They are more addictive and give you cancer, whereas marijuana isn't that addictive and there is no proof that marijuana causes cancer. Also, alcohol is legal, which causes more distortion that marijuana.

wiki29 said

at 9:43 am on Oct 23, 2009

i think marijuana should be legalized. If it was legalized then the gov't could start regulating it and actually know what's going into it. Also the gov't would put a tax on it like cigarettes so thet could get so more money in our down economy. Oh and wiki88 if you're saying that just cause drugs are bad for you they should be illegal? With that logic then anything with the potential to hurt someone should be illegal like fast food, tanning booths and cars. I'm pretty sure that fast food kills more people than marijuana does and tanning booths can give you skin cancer. Lets not forget that automobile accidents kill more teens then anything else in the united states.

wiki40 said

at 9:45 am on Oct 23, 2009

i agree with 88 that drugs should stay illegal. drugs are no good for you and should never be legalized. it doesnt matter wether it is for medical purposes or anything. if marijuana was legalized then i believe people would take advantage of it an abuse the lagalization.

wiki32 said

at 1:38 pm on Oct 23, 2009

I agree with 29. People are gunna use it reguardless of whether or not it is legal. The government might as well take advantage of this considering it would add a huge new market and boost the economy. They would be able to reguate it and make sure no other drugs included with the marijuana. They could also take out some of the tar in it which would make it healthier.

wiki66 said

at 1:51 pm on Oct 23, 2009

people will use it regardless, but i think it still should stay illiegal. it is extremely dangerous, and will harm the body in many ways. people would definitely take advantage of it if it were to be legalized. people should just stay away from drugs, and making them legal will not help them stay away.

wiki74 said

at 2:00 pm on Oct 23, 2009

yes there is a very high chance and no matter how secure they try to keep it medically, it will get out. but making it legal for medical reasons will do more good than harm. There would just have to be a strict and secure way to keep the medical marijuana safe from others who will abuse it safe.

wiki47 said

at 2:32 pm on Oct 23, 2009

i don't think it should be legalized because it causes death directly and indirectly. It damages the body, and leads to things like car accidents, etc.
however, medical marijuana should be legal but with many restrictions. there are many people out there with diseases that make their lives miserable, therefore making it a necessity to have something to sooth their pain.

wiki79 said

at 3:27 pm on Oct 23, 2009

i agree with wiki74.. i dont think it should be legal for everyone, just for medical reasons. and yes it probably will make easier access to more people. But it shouldnt be legalized for everyone, just for medical purposes.

wiki22 said

at 4:12 pm on Oct 23, 2009

i agree with wiki81 in that it should be used for medical reasons. If a person is suffering and dies and the drugs will ease their pain, they should be able to take them. They are about to die from a terrible illness and are in a lot of pain, so they should be able to end their life in less pain.

wiki78 said

at 4:20 pm on Oct 23, 2009

yeah, like i said before, if someone is suffering with cancer or such a disease and it would benefit their well being to smoke marijuana but legalizing it for everyone is not right, its dangering your personal health. i understand people will still be able to get it even if its not legal but legalizing it would make smoking marijuana okay. and its not.

wiki3 said

at 6:03 pm on Oct 23, 2009

i definitely think it should not be legalized. yeah it may help some people who are sick to get better, but still people wont understand to use it for that purpose. honestly i think all kinds of drugs that are illegal are GROSS and should stay illegal cause obviously theres something about them that makes them to be considered illegal. making it legal just gives people an excuse to do drugs and claim its for health reasons. people who do drugs just do it because they obviously have nothing better to do with their lives. or because its what their best friends are doing and they wanna fit in. in some cases i think that it should be legalized but that would be a big risk to take as it may help with some medical problems it could also cause health problems, just like smoking cigarettes does.

wiki70 said

at 6:08 pm on Oct 23, 2009

It confuses me that people say marijuana shouldn't be legal because it isn't healthy or because if used irresponsibly people might get into car accidents. I don't dispute that smoking anything is awful for the body or that driving under the influence is an excellent way to ruin some lives, but by that logic shouldn't cigarettes and alcohol be illegal, too? It just seems like rather selective caring.

wiki18 said

at 7:20 pm on Oct 23, 2009

Just kind of critiquing a bit but it would be better if the information was credited, not that I'm arguing with the content. And it's a little perturbing to know that this has been animal tested, that aint right. I do also have a problem that the article is written a bit in subjective opinion. It'd be nicer if the we'd just get fed the information without the 'it kills babies' overtone. Anyways..back on topic.. I agree that it should be legalized(shocker, i know) for whatever purposes. From my standpoint, it's all about responsibility. And the sad fact is that the majority of the public gets thrown right out of the window. If people could control themselves and have a healthy grip on things there wouldn't be huge problems where you hear about extreme acts of stupidity. Although the majority of people who do become avid pot smokers are incredibly repulsive and one dimensional. It does absorb their lives and it becomes the foundation of their existence (and I'm only generalizing, but from experience this applies to MOST not ALL). For the most part, they can't think forthemselves and it most cases it leads to the next bigger "high". It'd just be nice if people could handle themselves.

wiki3 said

at 7:56 pm on Oct 23, 2009

i agree with wiki75 because i too can think or at least 7 or more people who have said things like if marijuana was legal they would use it not as medical reasons but so they could get "high" without getting caught and how life would be so much better with all drugs legal which is completely pointless. if people really want to ruin their lives because they think that its the cool thing to do even though its absolutely disgusting i dont have a problem. in some cases i do think that it SOMETIMES should be legal but honestly in this society now none of us are responsible for a situation like that it doesnt help that much medically, because honestly it causes just as much problems as it can (not cure but) help. like wiki75 said it would give them no limits and give them the opportunity to be more stupid with it and take advantage of it. and i also think that since younger kids look up to older kids they would take advantage of it too because they see people doing it and thinking that its ok when its not. if somethings illegal it should stay that way. maybe if people were more responsible they would be able to handle it but we all know that will most likely never happen. illegal or not that doesnt stop people from using it, but thats their life they wanna throw down the drain. keeping it illegal just puts a stand point to it.

wiki18 said

at 8:33 pm on Oct 23, 2009

For other drugs? Never ever. I don't have a problem with occasional tobacco/marijuana/alcohol usage in constrained quantities, emphasis on occasional and constrained. Sure, have fun sometimes, but be smart about it. Control the situation before it gets out of hand. Like a few close friends and family enjoying labor day weekend in the backyard. I don't see a problem with that. It's when people get stupid and seek more and start self destruction and what-not. But honestly? even though i would support its legalization, nobody would be able to handle it, but that's where i draw the line. Other thing like shrooms or coke or whatnot? Nah. That's where lines get fuzzy and habits get addictive in an extremely negative fashion. People can loose themselves so easily its scary. It's probably better these drugs remain illegal. Like I've stated 120 times, it's responsibility, common sense, and your head on straight, which nobody has anymore especially in the states.

wiki18 said

at 8:35 pm on Oct 23, 2009

ps im talking about recreational cuz the topic doesnt just pertain to medical..i think?

wiki16 said

at 8:40 pm on Oct 23, 2009

I do not think that any drug should be made legal. The reason behind it is just common sense. All one needs to do is take a drug, in this case marijuana and drive, or do something else and then they ruin someone else's life just because they decided they needed to get high. And that's without taking into account the risk of addiction. It's already somewhat difficult to control addictions to prescription drugs, as we've seen happen recently. Michael Jackson was theorized to be addicted to prescription drugs and to have been killed from them, and in TV Shows and things it is also shown to be a real problem. Take Dr. House and his addiction to Vicoden (I don't think I spelled that right). Now if it's a problem with legal prescription drugs, and illegal ones are already rampant become legal, wouldn't that increase the rate of addictions and problems caused by those drugs?

wiki35 said

at 8:51 pm on Oct 23, 2009

Uh no why would we ever legalize a drug a drug like that? Obviously it doesn't do anybody any good, soooo why would you want to. And people who smoke will always smoke no matter if its legal or not, so why make it legal and make it easier for them. Thats basicly saying lets make it easier for these people to screw up their lives. This really makes no sense, what would anyone have to gain from making it a legal drug? If they made it legal, thats saying that its ok to do, which means younger kids will start doing it. And in general more people will do it, and thats just what we need more pot heads.

wiki47 said

at 9:27 pm on Oct 23, 2009

Obviously they wouldn't legalize marijuana to the public... they would only legalize it for medical purposes. If they made it legal to the public, it would be extremely harmful and just plain stupid because it is bad for you and it can cause death and sickness. If people were actually responsible.. it would be a different story, but since people do not care what effects marijuana can have on their own body and others', legalizing it is out of the question.

wiki35 said

at 9:28 pm on Oct 23, 2009

wiki 70, soo what your saying is you'd rather have people dying in car accidents and screwing up their lives, just beacue its not fair to single out marjuana?,Its ok your not going to hurts marijuana's feelings. I don't think marijuana cares if u single it out or not. I see kinda what your saying but its not...really relevant. I agree they should all be illegal, but I don't see why you want to legalize it beacuse of that. Wiki 16, good point, you'd think that the micheal Jackson thing would make people think, but apprently not. I love house btw, my fav : )

wiki35 said

at 9:34 pm on Oct 23, 2009

wiki 47, marijuana would not do anything to help in the medical feild. There are alraedy enough "prescription" drugs that people are getting addicted to, why would u need to add one more?

wiki41 said

at 10:17 pm on Oct 23, 2009

I do agree, to some extent, that legalizing marijuana for medical purposes such as a pain killer for cancer patients would be beneficial, but I think it is too risky. I have sympathy for the people that could really use it, but I also have fear that by legalizing it for medical use, it would be too easily accassable to unresponsible hands. That is why I am stick with my gut feeling that legalizing marijuana would be unethical.

wiki16 said

at 10:41 pm on Oct 23, 2009

wiki35, that is actually incorrect. Marijuana has been seen to be useful for medical purposes in the past as a pain killer for cancer patients, and it has in studies been used to help cure things such as insomnia and other mental illnesses for a brief period of time. (that period being what is generally known as being "high") As such, it isn't an amazingly effective treatment for some of those diseases, but it means that it does have medical uses. I am not at all saying that I support legalizing it, because as I said in my last post the risk of addictions and abuse far outweighs the positives. And, there are as you said many other alternative prescription drugs that also do the same thing. Now, I do agree with your reasoning, but I do feel the need to correct there and show that there are medical benefits from it, or so the studies tell us.

wiki23 said

at 3:50 pm on Oct 24, 2009

i do not think it should be legalized in th united states because it is harmful to the person taking it and by allowing it it is telling people it is okay and it isnt. also once you legalize one people are garunteed to want to legalize ore and no drug should be legal because all in all it is harmful to you and the people around you.

wiki23 said

at 3:54 pm on Oct 24, 2009

however i do agree with wiki 56 that it should be approved for medical reasons. when someone is deathly sick anything that can help that person live longer should be allowed. Why should we deny someone help that can dramatically or even partially change their condition.

wiki9 said

at 11:55 pm on Oct 24, 2009

No, I don't believe that this should be legalized because it would in affect be popularized. Though it may have certain medical values, I would rather see time and energy be put into finding alternatives to help people rather then into the regulation of marijuana use among people. Since THC is known to lead to certain long term health consequences, I don't believe having a larger amount of this on the street is a very good option. Other medical options are available to those suffering, and I don't believe THC is a viable alternative.

wiki9 said

at 12:04 am on Oct 25, 2009

I agree with wiki41 in saying that marijuana distorts perception and changes behavior. For this reason, even if it might lessen the degree of a certain medical condition, it also negatively affects the user and the people around the user. Putting the public in jeopardy by legalizing and popularizing this drug further just seems ridiculously unethical to even consider.

wiki20 said

at 7:28 pm on Oct 25, 2009

i dont believe that this should be legalized at all because it would overall affect the world. it would cause such an upset because people would be using all the time. there are most definitely other alternatives to finding ways to help people, and we need to work on those before making marijuana legal.

wiki28 said

at 6:25 pm on Oct 26, 2009

I do not think marijuana should be legalized, unless it is used for medicational purposes ONLY. However, I have mixed feelings about it because I think it is equally as bad as cigarettes. Both increase risk of disease and heart attack. Cigarettes have no beneficial side effects, but marijuana does. In a way I can agree with the legalization of marijuana but if I had to pick i do not think it should be. I do not think cigarettes should even be either

wiki28 said

at 6:29 pm on Oct 26, 2009

I also agree with wiki33. He/she stated that those who are under the influence of marijuana can also hurt others. That is another reason to keep marijuana illegal. It has the same effects as alcohol though in certain aspects. I feel that marijuana is made out to be worse than it is. It has a combination of side effects that both alcohol and cigarettes do, but they are the only ones that are legal. Maybe marijuna should be legal after a certain age just like alcohol. I think the laws are hypocritical.

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